Times Cryptic 28664

I found this hard but persevered and eventually managed to complete the grid in 51 minutes.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 They may be shot close to camp in attacks (6)
{cam}P [close] contained by [in] RAIDS (attacks)
4 Screening of material from a film finally is repeated in French (4,4)
A, (fil}M [finally], EST (is…in French) + EST [repeated]. Collins: a method of preliminary screening for carcinogens, based on their ability to cause mutations in bacteria named after Bruce Ames (born 1928), US biochemist. NHO this and the wordplay was tricky so I was only able to guess at the answer once all the checkers were in place. Seems a bit obscure to me.
10 Fetching a soft sort of green heather (9)
A, P (soft – music), PEA (sort of green), LING (heather). The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to see in a ‘pea green’ boat.
11 Praise from partner once was effective, mostly (5)
EX (partner once), TOL{d} (was effective) [mostly]
12 Native of Mexico in NJ: People appear confused! (8,6)
Anagram [confused] of NJ PEOPLE APPEAR
14 One could go off father getting close to son! (5)
SIRE (father), {so}N [close to …]
16 Youngster taking short vacation in extra small location (5-4)
CUB (youngster), then HOL{s} (vacation – holidays) [short] contained by [in] BYE (extra – cricket). Curtailment of an abbreviation no less!
18 Women tend to get fixed income (9)
Anagram [to get fixed] of WOMEN TEND
20 According to report, not out always to be brief (2,3)
IN SUM sounds like [according to report] “in some” (not out always)
21 Potentially 14 different people in pursuit of British film studio (6,8)
WARNER (potentially 14 across – siren), BR (British), OTHERS (different people). Before I lifted and separated ‘British’ from ‘film studio’ I had been trying to make the first word ‘Hammer’.
25 Tried out an oddly regressive inspection (5)
T{r}I{e}D {o}U{t} A{n} [oddly] and reversed [regressive]
26 Figures chap in charge can ring back with story (9)
FIB (story), then IC (in charge) + CAN + O (ring) reversed [back]. Collins: Italian mathematician: popularized the decimal system in Europe. Another answer outside my comfort zone but I was able to construct the name from wordplay and vaguely remembered it coming up before, most recently in August last year as it turned out.
27 Does like time pursuing friend in US city (8)
BUD (friend in US), APES [does – copies- Who Do You Do?), T (time)
28 From hearing, cycle to market (6)
Sounds like [from hearing] “pedal” (cycle)
1 Confine oneself to our boss’s articles, maybe, further tailored? (10)
READ JUST ED (confine oneself to our boss’s – the Editor’s – articles)
2 Twice a year, left from Rome? (5)
PA (a year – per annum) + PA [twice], L (left)
3 Blank flier secretary placed in study … (7)
AD (flier – small handbill) + PA (secretary) contained by [placed in] DEN (study).
5 which one drinking coffee raises? (3,2)
This part of the definition is cryptic but the literal is ‘study’ in the sense of ‘acquire knowledge of’  in the preceding linked clue.
6 Suddenly hard to keep quiet (7)
STEELY (hard) containing [to keep] P (quiet)
7 Confidentially French resistance moving in to record intelligence (5,4)
R (resistance) moving in ENTER (record) gives us ENTRE, then NOUS (intelligence)
8 What cashier has to work   up to (4)

What cashier has to work   up to (4)

Two meanings. Edited to three meanings, thanks to Geoff.
9 Salt tablet with nail on top (8)
PIN (nail), NACL (salt), E (tablet)
13 After a failure, one has to be tolerant (10)
PER (a), MISS (failure), I’VE (one has)
15 In the act of re-forming diamonds hardened (9)
Anagram [re-forming] of D (diamonds) + HARDENED
17 What could be worn by pool club personnel: medal (8)
BAT (club), HR (personnel – Human Resources), OBE (medal)
19 Acquire sports car at ridiculously cheap price — a bit of a flyer! (4,3)
WIN (acquire), GT (sports car), 1P (ridiculously cheap price – one penny)
20 Cool present for one getting passionate (7)
IN (cool – trendy), TENSE (present, for one)
22 Chance briefly to catch very loud bits of tune (5)
RIS{k} (chance) [briefly] containing [to catch] FF (very loud – music)
23 Knight once held up by Jedi, clearly (2,3)
Hidden and reversed [held up by] {Je}DI CLE{rly}
24 Stick book in the post (4)
JAM (stick), B (book). The side post of a door or window.

72 comments on “Times Cryptic 28664”

  1. 8:04 – AMES TEST seemed familiar and I really liked the wordplay for WARNER BROTHERS, AMES TEST and CUBBY HOLE. Fun puzzle!

  2. Tough. NHO AMES TEST and checked ODE to verify it. Biffed ENTRE NOUS, demi-biffed CUBBY-HOLE (didn’t get BYE). Biffed WARNER B, FIBONACCI, BUDAPEST, parsed post-submission. I don’t like cross-referencing clues, and 21ac had me (once I got 14ac) trying to make something of (SIREN)*. I liked FIBONACCI (‘figures chap’) and BUDAPEST.

  3. I also found this hard!
    NHO Ames Test, googled it to check my answer.
    Warner Brothers was a clever clue, I was floundering around thinking of Ealing till I got the siren=warner thing
    Finished in 27:38
    Thanks setter and blogger

  4. Hard work. NHO Ames Test. Disliked the linkage of 3 and 4dn, as usual. Didn’t mind the cross-reference to 14ac, although I got the answer from BR-OTHERS … who were they? Knew Fibonacci well – his series comes up often in another area of interest to me – cute definition! Lots of fun.

  5. Thanks for Ames Test, jack. Elsewhere a pleasant early week workout with some wit.

  6. AMES TEST was utterly new to me… so, yeah, I checked it.
    I finished the NE first, then the NW, SW, SE. LOI PERMISSIVE.
    IN SUM was hard to parse, a bit convoluted.
    Rather odd to have the definition for MUG UP found only in the clue before. Usually, those connecting ellipsis dots don’t mean anything.

  7. Enjoyed that. Mostly steady progress, then held up a bit by PERMISSIVE, CUBBY-HOLE and STEEPLY. Loved Figures man for Fibonacci – my mathematician niece is obsessed with his series. Couldn’t parse MUG UP, but it had to be. Didn’t know Ames test but an easy guess.
    After reading across clues and getting only the LING from appealing, 1 and 2 down gave the A and P and bingo! Must be appealing, APPLE GREEN is a type of green. Ooops. At least I wrote in appealing before I got to the end of mis-parsing it, avoided APPLELING

  8. A 35 minute fail. Managed to get some of the harder ones, only to put in a careless BARB at 24d. I liked the ‘Figures chap’ def for FIBONACCI and it was interesting to see that, as mentioned by Guy, the ellipses linking 3d and 5d did serve a purpose.

  9. After what seemed an eternity I had just the two and wondered if that was going to be it, but there were a few easy ones towards the bottom and I slowly worked my way back up to finish in 46.51. I call that a win, there was some very crafty clueing here. Thanks to jackkt for a great many explanations that eluded me, notably CUBBY-HOLE, READJUSTED and PINNACLE. Never knew REDHANDED was an anagram either, and liked SIREN defined as WARNER. I thought it was a great puzzle all round.

  10. Enjoyed this especially ‘they may be shot’, ‘does like’ and ‘Figures chap’ among others. Not so keen on ‘the’ in 24d.

  11. 41mins so medium weight. Last two PINNACLE (Jack you need to underline TOP in the clue) and CUBBYHOLE held me up. FIBONACCI recalled, for once, from its previous outing. I was also looking to bung in EALING for the studio but, like our blogger, once I had separated the British element it fell into place.

    Otherwise good fun. I enjoyed the PEPPER (and do!) and ENTRE NOUS.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

    1. I had the R checker form RIFFS in place which prevented me going down the Ealing route and HAMMER came to mind instead. Of course it wasn’t really a studio as such but a production company (based at Bray studios and later at Elstree) so if it had been correct I’d have had a nit to pick with it.

  12. Nearly got through it, but a BARB (BAR + B) for the LOI, got me an “unlucky” after an hour. Maybe thinking of the new movie.

    Wanted Financier to fit for “figures chap” but once FIBONACCI went in the bottom half unblocked. Took too long to “lift and separate” US city (BUDAPEST) after doing the operation on WARNER BROTHERS.

    PS In my QC blog today I noted the appearance of Tftt in the main paper on Saturday, with three bloggers mentioned.


    1. Thanks for pointing this out. Having read the article I was puzzled by the person from OUP recommending a dictionary (the Oxford Dictionary of English) that no longer exists, but I have now discovered that it lives on in a different place. It’s no longer free to access but like the OED itself you may be able to get access if (like me) you live in an area where the local library subscribes.

  13. I thought these were lovely clues with smooth, coherent surfaces throughout. Particularly liked FIBONACCI and JAMB (simple, but such a natural-sounding sentence.)

  14. 80 minutes and I found this hard with a couple needing checking after. AMES TEST which I managed to construct from WP with the help of checkers and ENTRE NOUS I could see the NOUS bit and then guessed the missing letters for ENTRE. These were my last in.

    FIBONACCI was another unknown built from WP looking up after.

    I needed the blog to fully see the parsing of MUG UP and WING TIP for the ‘cheap bit’ which I should have seen.

    I BIFD WARNER BROTHERS and never did see the parsing. I did see the cross reference with 14 but the penny didn’t drop.

    Thank you blogger for enlightening me on the parsing I didn’t see and the setter for the workout.

  15. 23:09. Tricky. A silly READDRESSED in 1D endured until I belatedly saw 12A had to be JALAPENO PEPPER. LOI PINNACLE. NHO AMES TEST, but after MUG UP it had to be. COD to ENDOWMENT, but I like JAMB too. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  16. 52 minutes. I struggled in both NE and SW, not knowing the AMES TEST and not venturing WING TIP before I could JAMb it with BUDAPEST. I liked CUBBY HOLE, but COD to WARNER BROTHERS. I played many Looney Tunes solving this one. Thank you Jack and setter.

  17. Back in OWL club with an extremely stupid ‘jalapeno popper’ rather than pepper, not having bothered to check the anagrist properly. Doh.

    Especially annoying after having gradually worked my way through the rest of this fairly tough puzzle. I didn’t know AMES TEST, I’m still not sure how ‘they may be shot’ gives RAPIDS, I tried to make the small location in 16a ‘cubic xxxx’ until I got STEEPLY and saw that it had to be CUBBY HOLE, and I wasn’t sure how the ‘ip’ in WING TIP worked, so thanks for the explanation.

    COD Fibonacci

  18. The Collins reference for FIBONACCI seems a bit strange – it was the use of Hindu/Arabic numerals that Fibonacci popularised, making commerce much easier. His famous sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8,13….) is such that the ratio between successive terms converges to the Golden Ratio 1.618….. (sqrt5 +1)/2.

    I liked CUBBY HOLE. Disliked AMES TEST, obscure as noted by our blogger.

    16’37” thanks jack and setter.

  19. 22:40
    Tricky, though less so than yesterday’s unMondaylike puzzle. Trouble at all four corners, but worked my way round eventually – LOI JAMB, LOL READJUSTED.

  20. 44m 22s
    An enjoyable puzzle. Unlike you, Jack, I thought of EALING in 21ac.
    Thanks, Jack.

  21. Good puzzle, done in 20 minutes with AMES from wordplay only and LOI REDHANDED slow to see it was an anagram. Some great clues as covered above. Liked WARNER BROTHERS best.

  22. Zut alors
    I sometimes find myself explaining to people that it’s tricky to have cryptic crosswords in languages other than English because English is such a playful language, and others are too precise. That doesn’t stop us having French twice in this one, and arguably Spanish, Latin, Italian and Hungarian.
    Turns out I can’t spell in Spanish, and can’t read anagrams either, with a JALAPINO. Otherwise about 4 minutes quicker than yesterday, so by no means easy. Nice to see NaCl making an early comeback, now we’re on the qui vive for it.
    Quite a lot to like here, with the two similar definitions “may be shot” and “could go off” adding to the fun. Never knowingly had an Ames Test, though I do have my poo and prostate tests regularly. Any relation?

  23. Jack, for 1D I think the definition is actually ‘Articles, maybe, further tailored?’ Ed refers just to ‘our boss’.
    I found this very tricky, but in a good way, in that I knew for certain that the ‘a’ beginning to 13D was not a stray letter, leading me to consider other alternatives to ae at the start of the word and the PDM of PERMISSIVE. One of those where following the wordplay precisely and separating out the possible meanings should lead you to the answer. I nearly ended up with BARB at 24D, but it didn’t feel correct enough for this setter. Unlike Jack, I found AMES TEST (NHO) pretty easy, as it couldn’t have been anything other than –EST EST, and only A and M were indicated in addition. COD to BUDAPEST, once I’d eliminated ‘FLIES’ and ‘PASSES’ from the descriptions of what time does! Forgot to parse READJUSTED, as it was so obvious from the J, so thanks for that, Jackkt! And thanks to the setter for a brilliant puzzle!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion re 1dn, alto_ego. I can see your reasoning, as I can mine (of course!) but I’m not entirely convinced so I shall leave my parsing as it stands. Unless there’s a pile-on later!

      1. FWIW I agree with you. Either reading kind of works but 1) ‘confine oneself to our boss’ could mean something other than reading (as required by the answer) whereas with the addition of ‘articles’ it becomes more precise, and 2) ‘articles, maybe, further tailored’ suggests the answer is going to be a noun.

        1. Thanks, those were my thoughts too, plus ‘further tailored’ gives us a more concise definition that can work either way in a substitution test .

  24. Beaten by JAMB, irritatingly. Just couldn’t see it. The rest went in with some effort, particularly FIBONACCI (which only rang the dimmest of bells) and AMES TEST (ditto). Took all of 50 mins, though, with lots of head scratching. Liked WARNER BROTHERS and DEADPAN. Wasn’t convinced by suddenly=STEEPLY, but I’m sure there’s some daft dictionary entry somewhere that justifies.

  25. I biffed far too many answers to really enjoy the solving process, but, thanks to Jack’s (as ever) excellent blog, I was able to subsequently appreciate how good so many of the clues were.

    LOI STEEPLY (after the pdm on AMES TEST which was NHO)
    TIME 12:32

  26. That was a tough workout. SIREN and DEADPAN went in first, then after some heavy brain wrangling, WARNER BROTHERS appeared through the mist to close the proceedings. NHO AMES TEST but the wordplay was kind. 27:23. Thanks setter and Jack.

  27. Lots of good clues here, some of them quite difficult for me, 55 minutes. I liked the Fibonacci definition (it’s not just the successive terms ratio, it’s 1001 other things too, most interesting, worth checking out; for example https://r-knott.surrey.ac.uk/Fibonacci/fib.html) and the ‘does like’ for ‘apes’. WARNER BROTHERS I got for the wrong reason: not having solved 14 I thought that it was a misleading reference to the clue and was really a reference to the film ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’, and 2×7=14. Unfortunately I now see that it was MGM not WB.

    1. My favourite Fibonacci fact is that any two adjacent numbers can be used to approximate miles to kilometres. Eg 89 miles is just 2bout 144 kilometres.

      1. To clarify: two adjacent numbers in the Fibonacci series. For instance 5 and 8 are adjacent, and 5 mls is about 8 km.

      2. Not so much a fact, as just randomly close.
        For instance, 0:1 is not close. 1:1 is not close, 2:3 is not close, 3:5 is not close etc. 5:8 is probably the first ratio that anyone might describe as “close” to the mile/kilometre conversion factor.
        Successive Fibonacci numbers approach the Golden Ratio 1.61803…
        1 mile is about 1.60934… km
        In the ballpark, but it’s nothing interesting, merely that two random and completely independent constants are fairly close.

  28. 12:27 but with a careless error for the second day in a row. I saw the words ‘what cashier has to…’ and leaped immediately to an activity, which was obviously going to be TELL because that’s what tellers (cashiers) do. This is impressively inattentive even for me.
    NHO AMES TEST. Is it obscure? I don’t really care, the wordplay is completely clear.
    I thought this was a very good one.

  29. Two careless errors due partly to ignorance, jalopena and Amis test (where I was going for ‘a mist est’ forgetting the ‘repeated’). Not happy with ‘steeply’ for ‘suddenly’, or the major definition for 5 down being in 3 down. 1 down’s definition is surely as Jack has it (and a clue that must have been appreciated in the home block). Despite criticisms I enjoyed the ww touch (wit/whimsy) – but I do think the definition side of things may be getting a little too 13.

  30. I found this tough. I solved several clues quickly, after which I struggled. AMES TEST rang a bell when I eventually worked out the structure, but it didn’t jump out at me. I didn’t know FIBONACCI referred to the numbers rather than the man. 21a took me ages as I was looking at the wrong end for the definition. And I was slow to see the anagram for REDHANDED.
    I wasn’t convinced the clue to MUG UP works, even when linked to the last word of the previous clue.
    A rather slow 52 minutes.

  31. Finished but no time, given that I’m intermittently entertaining two lively granddaughters today. A few really nice clues, esp CUBBY HOLE and RAPIDS. Spent far too long on my first pass trying to make something out of “Ealing” and didn’t care for the connected clues at 3 and 5. Couldn’t parse WARNER BROTHERS, not seeing the SIREN link till the blog. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

    1. This amused me Gerry. When my granddaughter was born I suggested to my daughter, her mother, I might help out, having been a professional nanny in another life. She was appalled at the idea as she knew I would ‘just get distracted doing the crossword’. Perhaps she was right?

      1. Haha. Thankfully they are at an age where they largely amuse themselves and each other. I’m usually only called on to feed and water them or provide some peacekeeping and arbitration services!!

  32. 28 mins, mainly held up by constantly choosing the wrong literal, it takes very clever clueing to keep doing that. Last 2 IN SUM & PERMISSIVE. Never got the parsing for IN SUM till I got here.

  33. 34:35. Tough going throughout with very smooth surfaces not providing much of a finger-hold without a great deal of groping around. At least I remembered to fill in all the holes today. FIBONACCI and WARNER BROTHERS stood out.

  34. A very enjoyable puzzle, tough but fair. After finding just two answers on the first read through, I got into the swing of it, and despite a hold-up in the NE and SW (those pesky four-letter words again) I crept home in 33 minutes. Good to see NaCl is becoming a regular. NHO AMES TEST but it was clear enough from the clueing.
    FOI – EL CID
    LOI – JAMB
    COD – INTENSE (for the wordplay)
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

    1. I was about to write my report and then realised you had described an identical experience, which seems to happen if enough people blog. So ‘wot Ucalegon said’.
      Tough but fair. Alarmingly only two answers after an extended family supper last night, then everything revealed itself fairly swiftly this morning. The short answers, as you say, being some of the most elusive.
      Clever and enjoyable puzzle and blog.

      Thanks setter and Jack

  35. 19 dn I’ve never seen, nor can find any examples of, red-handed spelt as one word. DNL = did not like. Apart from that, some cracking clues, my favourite being 1 dn READ ED JUST

    1. Good point. It’s one word in a couple of dubious online sources (Wordnik and Wiktionary) but not in any reputable dictionary. I can’t say I noticed, but the answer came easily on this occasion. I was very annoyed recently by ‘bighearted’ appearing as one word because I failed to solve that one.

      1. Chambers has it as a single word. Chambers is often a bit of an outlier so I’m sometimes reluctant to use it as an arbiter of what is accepted usage, but I regard the use or otherwise of hyphens as almost entirely a matter of stylistic preference anyway so in this case I’m happy to do so!

        1. Strange, as I’d have sworn I’d checked my printed edition of Chambers before posting the above comment, but evidently not. I certainly checked the free online Chambers of unknown origin.

          I’ve no evidence as such, but from decades of watching Countdown which uses Oxford Dictionaries for adjudication I’ve gained the impression that it’s the Oxfords that lead the way in abolishing hyphens whenever possible, but not in this case apparently.

          1. I generally dislike them, so default to not using them when the result doesn’t look too strange. I don’t pay any attention to dictionaries in making that assessment though: as this example shows the conventions are less hard-and-fast than the usual aspects of spelling.

  36. Lovely Jubbly, no problems, and all parsed. Like many others I didn’t know the Ames Test, but I like one or two generously clued unknowns, so that after the puzzle I am a little wiser.

  37. One error in 25 mins. I had JALEPENO. I didn’t expect PINNACLE to be correct so that was a nice surprise. I don’t recall seeing NACL for salt before. Very clever.

    I didn’t like the definition for 5 down being the last word of 3 down. But IN SUM it wss an excellent puzzle. Figures chap for FIBONACCI was very good.


  38. 34.48 but…

    …even though I was sure I had spelt EXTOL correctly, the editor had somehow set the dial to ‘random nobble’ giving me a pink square.

    MER for REDHANDED as a single word. This appeared extremely recently in one of these grids (can’t remember which) as a different enumeration. Make your mind up Ed…

    NHO AMES TEST but followed instructions.

  39. A puzzle of two halves. Left side went in, mostly straightforwardly. Right side resisted for so long that the afternoon seems to have passed with little to no achievement to record. Two straight fails so far this week, and it’s only Tuesday!

  40. Just couldn’t get past IN SUM so the SE with FIBONACCI et al remained a mystery. I was happy to get the unknown AMES TEST so not a complete washout (unlike Sunday’s cricket). Thanks for the clear explanations.

  41. 34’2”
    Steady pace throughout, stayed on under pressure.
    Sweated up again; will this roasting ever let up?
    I was pleased to finish this will all parsed, bar biffed 1d, under par, just.
    Compliments to the setter for this very elegant puzzle, which distracted me from the searing heat.
    Thank you Jack et al.
    Now for an afternoon of David v Goliath; Somerset v Surrey. Overton c. Foakes b. Overton 5
    There’s brotherly love for you!

  42. DNF, WARNER BROS never anywhere close to getting that. Well done that setter.
    Otherwise I liked it.
    COD BUDAPEST for the unhelpful US.

  43. Very enjoyable – around 45 minutes. My COD was “Readjusted” and also liked Salt = NACL.
    Many thanks to Setter and Blogger.

  44. 37:58 with one error- I can’t spell JALAPEÑO and had it as JALOPENA. I had carefully counted all the letters in the anagram, but that is not proof against a swap of letters.

    My favourite clues were JAMB and READJUSTED. LOI was IN SUM.


  45. 37 mins of struggle. NHO Ames Test but cluing was sympathetic. The two longer clues, jalapeno pepper and warner brothers i found tough and the latter went in without parsing. At which point I finally solved permissive, my LOI.

    Good puzzle . Thx setter and blogger.

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